Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: snakes

One more reason to avoid rattlesnake pills

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
Not that I needed one more reason to avoid them, but a recent CDC release warns about the risk of Salmonella infection associated with rattlesnake pills.  These pills, a literal variation of the old “snake oil” remedies, are apparently marketed as a cure for a variety of ailments, including cancer and HIV. Yet, the best evidence… Continue Reading

Reptile-associated salmonellosis in Minnesota

Posted in Reptiles
A recent paper in Zoonoses and Public Health (Whitten et al, 2014) describes reptile-associated salmonellosis cases in Minnesota between 1996-2011. Like similar reports, the data underestimate the problem because it’s thought that for every documented case, approximately 30 cases go undiagnosed. Regardless, there are some useful findings. Twelve to 30 cases of reptile-associated salmonellosis were… Continue Reading

More on classroom reptiles

Posted in Reptiles
Sometimes, people send me links to articles because they think I’d be interested in them. Sometimes, they do it to see what kind of response they can evoke. I’m not sure which one this was: I was directed by a couple of people to a recent post of PLOS’s blog about snakes in classrooms. (I… Continue Reading

Feeder rodent Salmonella alert, Ontario

Posted in Pocket pets
A local county newspaper had a front page headline about a zoning amendment that was approved to allow for a feeder rodent facility that will produce about 10 000 rodents a week (I know, apparently there aren’t a lot of big things happen around here). Co-incidentally, a couple days later, I received an alert and fact… Continue Reading

Pet-store python kills 2 young boys

Posted in Reptiles
This isn’t a zoonotic disease issue, but certainly relates to ongoing discussions about keeping exotic pets. A python from an exotic animal store in New Brunswick apparently escaped its enclosure and found its way into an apartment above the store. There, the python killed two boys, 5 and 7 years of age, possibly while they… Continue Reading

Sssnakes and Sssalmonella

Posted in Reptiles
The fact that Salmonella and reptiles go together is old news. I often get questions about testing reptiles to see if they are Salmonella carriers and I tell people not to bother since even with a negative result, I’d consider the animal to be positive. A recent study in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife… Continue Reading

More dumb pet problems

Posted in Other animals
No, I’m not referring to pets lacking in intelligence (my dog Meg leads that category). Rather, I’m talking about questionable decisions by pet owners. Here are a few bewildering stories: The Indian River Reptile Zoo near Peterborough, Ontario, rushed some of their stock of snake anti-venom to Brantford General Hospital (about three hours away) to… Continue Reading

More snake smuggling

Posted in Reptiles
I avoided the "snakes on a plane" title, as ever since the (bad) Samuel L. Jackson movie came out, every reptile smuggling headline seems to use use it. Regardless, would you like to be on a long trans-Atlantic flight with 247 smuggled animals, including a collection of venomous vipers? Probably not. Fortunately for passengers on… Continue Reading

Exotic pet problems

Posted in Other animals
I’ve written numerous times about risks (mainly infectious disease risks) associated with some types of exotic pets. I’m not against all exotic pets, but I am against keeping improper pets and doing so in improper situations. The latter largely involves keeping species at high risk for certain pathogens like Salmonella in households with high-risk people… Continue Reading

Anyone seen a cobra?

Posted in Reptiles
The Bronx Zoo has closed it’s reptile house following the disappearance of an Egyptian cobra. Officials noticed the 20-inch-long snake was missing on Saturday, and they are presumably carrying out a diligent and very careful search. There’s probably no risk to the public (as long as the snake wasn’t stolen). It’s likely curled up hiding… Continue Reading

Cobras make bad pets…duh!

Posted in Other animals
A New Jersey man managed to avoid being a good example of Darwin’s "natural selection," thanks to the help of medical professionals and the Bronx Zoo. Eric Bortz (who, I’m sad to say, works at a veterinary clinic), purchased three snakes – a copperhead (venomous), a timber rattlesnake (venomous) and a monocled cobra (venomous) –… Continue Reading

Frozen mice recall: Salmonella

Posted in Reptiles
MiceDirect, a company that sells frozen mice, rats and chicks as reptile feed, has issued a recall because of Salmonella contamination of their product. Contaminated critters have been sold across the US (except Hawaii) through mail order and pet stores, and recalled product codes can be found in the FDA recall notice. Contamination isn’t a… Continue Reading